glide: an online marketplace for short-term software subscriptions

Parsons School of Design // January to May 2018 // Mehul Sharma, John John, Sundar Subramanian

As the world moves towards the gig economy, organizations and businesses must be prepared with the changes in the way people work and collaborate. As part of an academic project made in collaboration with CitiVentures, we were tasked to develop a business that would create value for and support the needs of this growing workforce. We created a pay-per-use model software programs to address the struggles of gig workers with high software subscriptions.

My Roles

  • Project Lead - Ensured that tasks were done on time and deliverables were turned in. Coordinated with and gave progress updates to client.

  • Recruited participants for primary research studies and workshops

  • Determined research methods to be used for each exploration phase.

  • Developed discussion guides, survey forms, and workshop materials for ideation and prototyping

  • Conducted stakeholder interviews and in-person and remote interviews. Facilitated workshops and usability testing sessions with clients, users, and stakeholders.

  • Analyzed findings and developed visualizations and artifacts to communicate insights.



There’s been a lot of buzz going around recently about freelancing. At one point or another, everyone has probably been a freelancer (with our team not an exception!). This is no surprise, especially in the US, as freelancers now comprise 35% of the US workforce. By 2024, this number is set to grow and rise to 47%.

This shift also brings about new challenges and opportunities. As people move towards freelancing and independent work, they lose the protection and benefits provided by a corporate job. Yes, freelancers have the freedom to work anywhere and at any time they want but this also means that they have to navigate through the complex ecosystem of work on their own!

Business Challenge

Business Challenge-01.jpg

Overall Project Goal

  • Identify and develop a business model that solves for gaps in the market serving Gig Economy workers

The Solution

Glide is a platform that allows users to pay for short-term packages including 1-day, 3-day, 1-week or 2-week packages for various software programs. The packages come at a low cost and fit the needs of freelancers who only need to use software programs at a short period of time.

Glide accelerates the customer conversion process from being a free user to a paying customer as users realize the value of the software program. For emerging SaaS providers, they can use the platform to test their products and get their first real customers to help make their products better.

Glide Full_1.jpg
Glide Full_Artboard 12.jpg
Glide Full-12.jpg

The Process

Glide UX Process-02.jpg



Coffee Shop 2.jpg

Research Question

How are individuals able to manage and sustain the lifestyle and work nature of being a freelancer?



Glide UX Research-03.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-07.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-08.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-09.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-10.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-11.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-12.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-13.jpg


Glide UX Research-04.jpg


GLIDE UX Research-14.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-15.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-16.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-17.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-18.jpg
GLIDE UX Research-19.jpg


Glide UX Research-20.jpg
Glide UX Research-21.jpg
Glide UX Research-23.jpg
Glide UX Research-24.jpg



Glide UX Research-05.jpg
Glide UX Research-25.jpg
Glide UX Research-27.jpg
Glide UX Research-28.jpg



Glide UX Research-06.jpg
Glide UX Research-29.jpg
Glide UX Research-30.jpg
Glide UX Research-31.jpg

Opportunities for Future Research and Testing

  • Reach out to more software providers to get their input on the concept and the idea. This would help us in understanding their concerns better from a technology and business standpoint.

  • Determine the software programs that freelancers deem most useful in their work as this might help in phasing client acquisition initiatives.

What I Would Do Differently

  • Spend time to test the high-fidelity prototype. We finished the prototype just a couple of days before the final presentation. One thing that we could have done is test the high-fidelity prototype to have one round of iteration before presenting it to our client

  • Recruit more freelancers for workshops to compensate for cancellations and dropouts. We encountered a lot of last-minute dropouts for workshop and although we did try to recruit more, we realized that we could set the bar higher so that there’s a higher possibility of having more participants in the workshops.